Inmates who commit to bettering themselves while in custody are being offered free tattoo removal by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Because the task of landing a job after being released from prison is a tough ordeal when one is covered in tattoos, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is helping inmates who commit to bettering themselves erase the marks of their past.
Any inmate who no longer wants to be associated with gangs or a previous lifestyle is invited to take advantage of the Tattoo Removal Service, a joint program of the Inmate Services Bureau, the Medical Services, Bureau, and Homebody Industries. So far, 2,248 have benefited from the offer – and, at no private or public cost.
The highly successful service incentivizes inmates to engage in structured academic or vocational training and life-skills classes offered by the Bureau’s Education Based Incarceration. By proving that they are serious about changing their lives, they become eligible for the tattoo removal treatments. Tattoo removal through laser treatments may be painful, but they’re done using advanced technology with the sole purpose of helping inmates turn over a new leaf.
GoodNewsNetwork relays that many inmates regret getting their tattoos for various reasons. Some acquired their first tattoo as young as eleven years old (before they could make wise decisions) while others received theirs from an untrained professional. As a result, they may have an unsightly or distorted image on their skin.
In addition, nearly all inmates know first-hand the negative social stigma associated with some tattoos – especially when they are offensive or visible on the face, neck, or hands. Having tattoos removed seems to be the best way for former crooks to truly start clean.
Trained professionals oversee the city’s Tattoo Removal Service, and a medical-grade laser is what breaks down the tattoo ink. If the removal process takes longer than the inmate’s sentence, officials coordinate with Homebody Industries to complete the process at no cost to the individual.
In addition, as mentioned above, no fees are incurred by the Sheriff’s Department or the public. This is possible thanks to the Inmate Welfare Fund which pays for essential health, welfare and educational needs of the inmates. Funds are raised by “collect only” pay phones, inmate vending machines, the barber shop, and hobby-craft sales.
This positive program has received overwhelmingly optimistic feedback from participants. In addition to the associated academic, vocational and life-skill training, the tattoo clinic is believed to be one of the Sheriff Department’s most powerful means of helping inmates secure employment, gain community acceptance, and reducing recidivism.
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